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Leaf-cutter ants

Leaf-cutter ants

C011/6423

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Credit

DR MORLEY READ / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR MORLEY READ / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Leaf-cutter ants transporting a cut leaf. These are Atta ants, found in the tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas. The ants riding on the leaf fragment are minims, small worker ants thought to protect the leaves from flies that attempt to lay eggs on them. The ants carrying the leaves are mediae. The leaves are used by the ants to cultivate a fungus garden that is used to feed their larvae. The adult ants feed on the leaf sap. This is an example of ant-fungus mutualism. Photographed in Ecuador.

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